Natural Gas Vehicles Get Boost From Obama and Auto Industry

Most automak­ers offer CNG vehi­cles in oth­er mar­kets around the world. While about 10 mil­lion vehi­cles world­wide run on nat­ur­al gas, few­er than 200,000 are in the Unit­ed States, and about 1,000 fuel sta­tions sell CNG.

In ear­ly 2012, Oba­ma want­ed to broad­en a gov­ern­ment tax cred­it that was cre­at­ed to sup­port elec­tric vehi­cles. He now wants to include oth­er types of advanced vehi­cles, includ­ing those that run on fos­sil fuels like com­pressed nat­ur­al gas.

Only Hon­da Motor Co. cur­rent­ly sells a car that runs on CNG — a ver­sion of the Hon­da Civic — but sev­er­al automak­ers sell medi­um and heavy trucks and vans that run on the fuel.

In Octo­ber, Gen­er­al Motors Co. announced it plans to pro­duce a small num­ber of 2015 Chevro­let Impalas that run on com­pressed nat­ur­al gas

GM sells a bi-fuel ver­sion of its heavy trucks and CNG-pow­ered Chevro­let Express vans. Last year, GM sold 1,400 CNG vehi­cles and sold more than 3,500 last year.

GM CEO Mary Bar­ra praised the focus on CNG and sees “tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty” in vehi­cles that run on the fuel. “That’s def­i­nite­ly an option that we’re work­ing on,” she said on Capi­tol Hill Wednes­day. “We’re very excit­ed to get those prod­ucts out into the mar­ket­place and want to see what the reac­tion is.”

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